Rose Bowl better than title game? Ha!

Pete CarrollSo I’m watching Air Force play Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl on New Year’s Eve and one of the ESPN announcers says (I’m paraphrasing), “Everyone wants to focus on the national championship game, but the best bowl this year is in Pasadena. The Rose Bowl is best matchup on the bowl schedule this year.”

No way. No…way…

The announcer went on to talk about how USC was the top ranked program in the nation at one point this year and how Penn State was ranked in the top five, so the matchup is outstanding. Okay, I get that. The matchup does look outstanding, but it won’t be better than the title game.

I’ll be the first one to eat my words if I’m wrong, but I say USC waxes Penn State in the Rose Bowl this evening. The Trojans have one of the fastest and most talented defenses in the entire nation and while Joe Pa’s spread offense has been explosive, PSU hasn’t faced a defense like USC’s and I fail to see how this game remains close when the Trojans are playing in their own backyard.

The only way I see this game being tight is if USC comes out flat like it has a penchant for doing, or if Mark Sanchez starts turning the ball over – which he has a penchant for doing. In fact, if Penn State hangs with USC, I’ll dedicate an entire post about how underrated the Lions were all season and how wrong I was about the Trojans.

The Florida-Oklahoma title game matchup has everything. How will the Sooners’ dynamic offense fare against the Gators’ stifling defense? Will 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford outperform 2007 winner Tim Tebow? Can Bob Stoops’ team perform better this year than they have in past bowls? Will Urban Meyer win his second national championship in three years?

The Rose Bowl looks great on paper, but it’s a stretch to say that it’ll be more entertaining than the title game. (And the ESPN announcer hasn’t been the only one who suggested that it would be better than the title game because several media members throughout the week have been sharing that sentiment.)

Outside of USC and Penn State fans, does anybody else believe the Rose Bowl should be more exciting than the national title game? Am I missing something here?

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2009 BCS Bowl Preview and Predictions

The 2009 BCS Bowl Season is quickly approaching – not that anyone should care.

I’m not trying to sound bitter, but if the BCS doesn’t care about any of its five bowl games outside of the national championship game, then why should we? All the BCS essentially cares about is figuring out who the top team teams are in college football – and they can’t even do that right.

But I digress. I’m not going to burn another 1,200 words on why college football needs a playoff because it’ll just fall upon deaf ears. Instead, I’ll get into the bowl season spirit and break down the five BCS bowls, as well as hand out predictions for each game.

Predictions are essentially meaningless, but they’re fun so make sure you throw out your picks in the comment section below.

Daryll ClarkRose Bowl: Penn State vs. USC
The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California, January 1, 4:30PM ET ABC
Some college football pundits believe that this one will be over with by halftime, but if Penn State uses Oregon State’s victory over USC as a blueprint for success, the Nittany Lions could make this a tighter game than most expect. PSU tailback Evan Royster has been a playmaker this year and if the Lions can employ him the same way the Beavers’ used Jacquizz Rodgers to beat the Trojans earlier this season, then maybe they can exploit USC’s quick defense. Then again, the Trojans’ D is one of the fastest and most talented units in the country and it won’t be easy for PSU to spread the field on them like they did against Big Ten opponents this season. USC has the most talented linebacker corps in the country and their secondary features two safeties in Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison that blanket the field in both coverage and run support. In order for the Lions to claim victory, quarterback Daryll Clark will have to play mistake free and not try to force action in the passing game. Offensively for USC, quarterback Mark Sanchez has been outstanding, but he will make mistakes. He threw at least one interception in seven games this year and if PSU’s defense can generate some pressure, they could force Sanchez into some turnovers and capitalize on some prime field position. But outside of getting pressure on Sanchez, Penn State needs to tackle well and limit the yards-after-catch opportunities that USC’s receivers thrive upon. Sounds basic enough, but the Trojans have one of the fastest offenses in the league and Sanchez has excelled at taking what defenses give him and in getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers. The Lions would be wise to get 11 defenders around the ball at all times, especially when USC tailback Stafon Johnson gets the opportunity to make plays.
Rose Bowl Prediction: USC 30, Penn State 17.

Read the rest after the jump...

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